5Peaks Mount Seymour Warm Up 2011 Event Report

When Chief Executive Fat Ass Sibylle put out a request back in January for event host volunteers for the 2011 5 Peaks Warm Up (orientation run) events, I jumped at the chance to host the Mt. Seymour event. Visions of warm and dusty trails on a mountain I love but was mostly unfamiliar with (at the time) sounded great.  Alas, the extended spring followed by an early winter June-uary and July-uary set a slightly different scene.  The formula goes something like this:  4-feet of snow minus 3-feet of snow by way of rapid melting over 30 days, does not equal dust.

6 keen 5Peaks runners along with 2 Fat Ass volunteers made the most of a moist and foggy Mt. Seymour earlier this morning at Club Fat Ass' 5Peaks Mount Seymour Warm Up 2011.  Optimism reigned at the start and for the first several kilometers.  As a group, led by run leader, Ryan Conroy, and tailed by event host and sweep, yours truly, we sloshed and mostly ran our way around the first part of the Sport course.  A "trail closed due to washed out bridge" sign gave us pause on our way to the Flower Lake trail junction, but we pushed on, noting that the same sign was here back on July 1st when the snow was 4-5 ft deep in places (and arguably dangerous). 

By this time, we were tromping on more continuous stretches of snowpack broken up occasionally by bits of trail or a tiny 4-foot washed out bridge over a 6-inch deep stream, making our way around the lower half of Flower Lake trail clockwise.  I may have overheard some whining about the snow and deep mud and puddles, and I may have heard some comments to the effect of "these conditions would suck on raceday".  I tried to empathize with the runners, none of whom were Club Fat Ass members (club events, afterall, soldier on in just about any trail and weather condition you can think of)  -- the 5Peaks runners probably deserve a better course than what they saw today which was mostly unrunnable.  According to one runner, if today had been raceday, it would have been ugly with no way to safely pass people.

Next thing I know I pop-out of the forest near a chairlift.  Hmm, where am I, this doesn't look familiar.  Lloyd and Christine, Sport Course entrants, were nearly up the hill with Ryan and the others.  When we huddled at the parking lot shortly thereafter, I theorized that we made an unintentional ~2km short cut, somehow missing the top half of the Flower Lake loop and climb back to the lot from a different direction.  I also pointed out that come race day, an aid station is indicated on the map at the precise junction we happened to miss.  A couple of the runners asked themselves if they wanted to backtrack and complete the Sport course and said "nahh", and instead headed off to an afternoon tee time. 

At this point Ryan and his group of 4 Enduro course runners headed off.  I was uplifted to see Kristiina look back and give her second two big thumbs up of the day (the first one is in the starter photo) - positive attitude now that's what I'm talking about! 

The day ended without a complete running of the longer Enduro course however, with Ryan and company finding the course too difficult to navigate due to remaining snowpack, returning to the parking lot within an hour.   

Thank you Ryan for your run leadership, and for Marianne, Dave, Megan, Kristiina, Christine, and Lloyd for coming out for the run (aka voyage of discovery).

Best wishes to the 5Peaks Mt Seymour 2011 runners.  Be prepared for some challenging conditions and most of all, have fun!

Happy trails!